April 4, 2020
Municipal Leader COVID-19 Update #3
Timely updates on the public health crisis for Boards of Health, Selectboards, Town Administrators, First Responders and Emergency Managers
Regional COVID Coordination Center Will Release First Situation Report Tuesday.
Franklin County's Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) will be open for business Mondays – Fridays from 8 AM to 4 PM beginning Monday, April 6. The primary goal of the MACC is to create a common operating picture across the 26 towns in Franklin County, as information sharing is so critical. The MACC will provide situational awareness statements twice a week and coordinate inter-municipal activities. The first Situation Report will be issued Tuesday, April 7. For more in formation, please click on the image of the flyer.
New Executive Orders Impact Construction, Short Term Rental, and More

In response to the growing toll of the pandemic, Governor Baker issued a number of new orders this week that:
  • Tighten the definition of essential businesses;
  • Clarify what kind of protections need to be in place for construction projects; and
  • Limit all hotel, motel, and short term rental business to pandemic-related lodging. Locally, Boards of Health are explaining the rules to Airbnb/VRBO hosts. Email Walker@frcog.org if you would like template language.

Does your Town have questions about whether a specific business qualifies as essential? If the link above does not answer your question, you can email covid19.biz@mass.gov.

Messages for the Public from the MAPHCO Joint Information System:

Boards of Health interested in sharing information with residents can find a Word version of the MAPHCO weekly tips for communication here . This week's topics include home cleaning and disinfection, communication with first responders, and definitions and tips for staying at home, as well as this important message:

Self-Reporting Symptoms Helps Protect Your Community
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by lab test or by a doctor, and now have symptoms, or if you have had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19 but have no symptoms: Stay home and have no visitors to your home.  Contact your Board of Health's Public Health Nurse for guidance on isolation and quarantine.  Reporting to your Board of Health serves two important purposes: it ensures that any first responder coming to your home for an emergency can wear protective gear, and it will help your community make sure you get the support you need to stay home.
Some definitions:
  • ISOLATION is required of persons who have symptoms and have a diagnosis of COVID-19. You will be required to stay home and have no visitors unless they are medically required and are wearing proper levels of protection. Isolation may discontinue after:
  • At least 3 days have passed since recovery (defined as no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms – e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and
  • At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • QUARANTINE is for persons who are not sick but are at high risk for having been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. The state has changed the definition of who needs to be quarantined: From today forward contacts who will be quarantined include those potentially exposed to the positive case (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) for 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms.  A person in quarantine is required to stay home and monitor their temperature for 14 days. If symptoms develop, quarantine may not be lifted until the 14 days have passed and all symptoms have resolved, which may be later.

The Department of Public Health recently released an infographic covering 10 tips for managing at-home isolation or quarantine -- Please share it widely!

Involving School Nurses in COVID-19 Response

The FRCOG's team of three Public Health Nurses monitoring and supporting those with COVID-19 for the Cooperative Public Health Service are working to coordinate school nurses interested in helping. We ask interested school nurses to register through the www.MAresponds.org website, and are maintaining a list of nurses that are ready to assist local Boards of Health as needed. Please feel free to direct inquiries to mburch@frcog.org.

More Resources to Share with Your Residents
Help for Families during the Stay at Home Order
This is a particularly difficult time for many people in our region, with the stressors of unemployment, school cancellation, and social distancing piling up. Some important resources you can share with residents include:

  • The Greenfield Safe Schools Safe Streets Coalition (4SC) and Gill-Montague Community School Partnership have shared resources for families on: talking with children about COVID-19, stress and anxiety, educational resources for kids while schools are closed, volunteer opportunities, and more!

Resources for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19:
While the health crisis is a major challenge to Franklin County, the economic impacts of this outbreak are also already severe. Click here to learn more about resources for businesses.